Sunday, July 4, 2010

Winter Comfort Food

It is winter here, and I can remember when I was drooling over the beautiful winter snow scenes on the blogs of my Canadian and American blog friends.  I was longing for the white snow to cover my yard, for the foggy breath that comes with the cold.  HA HA was I crazy? Yep I was!!!!!  It is only about 1 or 2 degrees c here so nowhere near as cold as it gets in the states, or of course Europe and I am freezing my toosh off.  We have had frost covering the paddocks and that is enough, seriously it is enough.  I am cold.  The air con is on and the socks and the slippers and the tracky dacks, YES I admit I wear tracky dacks in winter, but only in the house, well the yard too really.  I am layering and layering.  A long sleeve t-shirt under a jumper and then sometimes even a jacket, believe me it is cold.   Brrrrrrr......................

So yesterday I was in need of comfort food, real comfort food, something warm and gooey and I found this.  Now first let me say I have become a fan of Donna Hay.  Her cookbooks are just beautiful.  The photography and the food styling are gorgeous.  An Aussie girl, she is a wonderful cook, and the dishes are easy enough for the average cook and impressive enough that your guests, be they family or friends, will feel that you have really treated them.

This dish "Speck and maple beans with thyme toasts"  was to die for really.  Now I enjoy beans, I really do and I love Maple Syrup the real deal that is not that sticky imitation stuff so I figured I would like this.  Adrian on the other hand is a meat lover.  He is becoming more adventurous but he is a meat lover just the same.  I intended to make this for dinner during the week, but as it is so cold and he comes home so hungry I thought I may have a rebellion on my hands.  That's why I opted for a weekend dinner, when things are a little slower.  I needn't have worried because he went back for seconds,  Yeah!!!!!! a success story.

Speck and Maple Beans with Thyme Toasts


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
200g Speck trimmed and chopped (Speck is a slab of cured smoked ham, you can use bacon)
1 Brown onion chopped
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tsps tomato paste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup (125ml) beef stock
1 cup (280g) tomato puree (tomato sauce)
1 x 240g can each of butter beans, white (cannellini) beans, borlotti beans and kidney beans, rinsed and drained.  Really any combo of beans that you like would be fine.
sea salt and cracked pepper
4 slices sourdough bread
1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup, extra
2 Tbsp olive oil extra
6 sprigs thyme

Preheat the oven to 200c (400f) .  Place the oil, speck and onions in a large saucepan over high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden and tender.  Add the mustard, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, stock, tomato puree, beans, salt and pepper and stir until well combined.  Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until thickened.

While the beans are cooking, place the sourdough on a baking tray drizzle with the maple syrup and oil and top with thyme.  Bake for 10 - 15 mins or until golden.  Serve beans with the thyme toast.  Serves 6.

Well it really was 3 good serves so you will have to decide for yourselves, maybe we were just extra hungry and greedy, yep that was probably it.  

I didn't make the thyme toasts, mainly because I didn't have the sourdough and instead we had garlic bread so either would be fine.  I do want to try the thyme toasts though, they sound scrumptious.  I sprinkled a bit of corriander (cilantro) on top and we washed it all down with a little Pinot Noir which was lovely with it.  So now I know it is summer where most of you are but for my buddies experiencing winter with me, now it's bean time Yum!!!!!

Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. I was just dropping in to wish you and yours the happiest Independence Day. May your day be full! May you enjoy laughter shared with family, great food shared with friends, fireworks to make you gasp, a lump in your throat at the anthem, and a full and grateful heart at all we have been given. Happy Fourth of July, my friend!

  2. Thank you my dear and i hope your 4th of july was a wonderful one for you and your family


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